Review of the Linksys WAG354G wireless, ADSL2+, 4 port router. This new 802.11g wireless router from Linksys is a break from their traditional style of routers with significant design flair over their standard offering.
What's in the box
Getting StartedThe router itself is about the size of a double CD, much smaller than a normal Linksys router. It can be stood either horizontally (on 4 small rubber feet) or, vertically by twisting round a flat stabilizer (stops it falling over). Unlike most linksys wireless gear, there are no visible external antenna, but a hidden RP-SMA connector is under a pop-out flap on the top of the router (when standing vertically). There are no rubber feet to hold it in place when mounting it vertically and being so light it slide around quite easily.
The router has all of the standard features you'd expect : firewall, port fowarding, dmz host, dhcp server, remote logging and upnp.
As with all wireless gear, it's always best to start configuring it via ethernet first, so wireless security can be enabled before connecting to it wirelessly the first time. Initial configuration is much the same as for other linksys routers. Most of the initial settings are designed to get the router to work straight away out of the box, with the minimum of configuration. Both the firewall and UPNP default to turned on. My preference is to turn UPNP off as I want to know what software is trying to poke holes in my firewall (especially handy with kids in the house), but I can understand Linksys turning it on, as I'm sure this results in fewer support calls.
Initial wireless configuration defaults to unencrypted, but turning WPA encryption on and setting a password is very simple. Unlike some other wireless routers, there doesn't appear to be an option to generate a random long password for WPA which is a shame, so you'll have to make one up (try to make it at least 20 characters long).
The ADSL router settings page did not default to the correct VPI/VCI settings for the country it was bought in, but the router did come with a sheet listing the default values for most countries. Whilst this is a small point, it leaves it very easy to get the wrong settings if you don't already know to look them up. The ADSL line status page gives a good amount of detail on you line status (initializing/connected/etc), including the attenuation and signal to noise ratios. You can configure the router to either connect on demand or to stay connected to the adsl. I don't really see the point of connect on demand, as it just adds a delay the first time you want to access a web page or email. There seems little point in not leaving the router always connected.
PerformanceTesting the wireless router on a marginal ADSL line gave a much more stable connection (with better SNR figures) then the ISP provided USB modem it was replacing. I'm guessing that in order to support ADSL2+ the router has a more sensitive modem.
With no external antenna I wasn't expecting fantastic range or speeds, but the wireless connection speed never dropped below 36Mbps anywhere in the house even going through thick brick walls. I'd mounted the router vertically on the desk so not being blocked by a pc case probably helped the reception. Transfering data wirelessly was very stable, and the wireless connection seemed to add around 0.5 ms to ping times, which is quite acceptable.
After hours of continuous operation neither the power supply or router were hot to touch, though the router does have a large amount of venting holes which obviously helps
ConclusionIf you are after a wireless router and adsl modem all in one, then I don't think you will be dissappointed with this offering from Linksys. It was both simple to configure and get working, and has run very stable ever since, both the ADSL connection has run reliably, and there have not been any wireless problems. A good sign is that in the month the router has been installed, I haven't needed to reboot it once.
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